It’s funny the way some things happen, isn’t it?
I came across a post in my recent cyber travels about a fellow Charlottean, Mike Orell, who is (apparently) wild about the amazing tree canopy that we have here in The Queen City. In case you didn’t know, Charlotte is known for having one of the finest urban forests in America and it is one of our most recognized and treasured natural resources.
I have to admit that I love the trees, too. One of my favourite things about Charlotte is the abundance of green and the trees are definitely a big part of that. Sadly, our urban forest is old, fragile and depleted and is at risk of being irrepairably lost if action is not taking to better preserve it. Fortunately in 2010, our city council recognised the canopy’s importance and launched a bold public/private collaborative, TreesCharlotte, whose task was to assess the condition of the canopy, support and protect the existing trees, and set a goal of planting over 500,000 trees over the coming decades. It is largely volunteer driven and has been very successful to date. A truly wonderful community project with a lasting legacy. Trees are important. Trees are beautiful. And they increase our land values.
Anyway, I came across this post, via Trees Charlotte, written by Mike that talks about Urban Foraging. Have you heard about Urban Foraging? That is, going out into our public urban environments to find, harvest, and eat fruits (or veges or whatever) that are publicly available, are ripe, and would ordinarily rot on the vine and go to waste if folks weren’t out there collecting them. What a notion. Mike talks about the different fruit trees that he’s noticed around his/my areas, when they are fruiting and how often he beats the critters to the bounty 🙂
And then I realised that *I* am an Urban Forager, too. Well, in that there is this amazingly enormous fig tree along one of my running routes that is simply ladened with fruit in the Autumn, and that I have been known to slow and enjoy a fresh sweet fig or two from its offerings as I pass. My running buddies think I’m mad. I’m ok with that.
And then I thought of the people I see walking along the walking paths in Florida carrying the fresh coconuts home that had fallen the night before. And I realised that *they* are Urban Foragers, too.
And I remembered the NPR segment I heard months ago about a global (global!) online project called Falling Fruit that crowd sources locations of publicly available fruits and maps them, so you can go and be an Urban Forager in your own piece of the world. Amazing!
And then my friend, Sarhn at GreenerMe, posted just yesterday about her adventures collecting wild Slippery Jack mushrooms. Turns out that she’s an Urban Forager, too! And I remember going ‘mushrooming’ after a rainfall in the Autumn months as a child so I guess I’ve been doing it for a long time, afterall.
It is just all around me right now. Funny how sometimes things like that happen, right? All at once?
But what does all that meeaaaannn??? I dunno. But I like the advice Mike gives: To “pick your head up and start to really see what’s around you”. Good advice for life, really.
Are there any other Urban Foragers out there? Perhaps you are an UF and just never knew it (like me)?